Attorney: Michigan football’s Mazi Smith was pulled over with gun in car before finishing CPL process

Smith charged with carrying concealed weapon

Michigan defensive tackle Mazi Smith at his Dec. 1, 2022, arraignment in Washtenaw County. (Getty Images/WDIV)

ANN ARBOR, Mich.Michigan football star Mazi Smith is facing a felony weapons charge after he was pulled over in October with a gun in the car before completing the process of obtaining his concealed pistol license, according to his attorney.

Smith, 21, was charged Tuesday (Nov. 29) with carrying a concealed weapon.

Ann Arbor police said Smith was pulled over at 9:35 a.m. Oct. 7 for speeding. He was the only person in the car and found to be in possession of a handgun.

Officials said Smith didn’t have a valid CPL or a driver’s license with him at the time of the stop.

Smith was arrested, taken to the police station, and released pending prosecutor review. The charge against him was formally filed Tuesday by the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office.

During Thursday’s arraignment, Attorney John Shea shared his side of what happened.

“This is Mr. Smith’s first contact with the law,” Shea said. “This incident arose out of a traffic stop at around 9 o’clock in the morning -- maybe I’m a little off on the exact time, but it was in the morning on a Friday.

“He was asked whether there was a weapon in the car. He was honest. He was forthright. He was completely cooperative. Ironically, he was in the midst of obtaining his CPL. He had not yet completely obtained it. He does have it now, which is even more ironic. But he was in the process, and I say that not to try to convey anything other than he was trying to be responsible, and he completed that process.

“We will address at a later date the issues regarding criminal liability. He’s a lifelong Michigan resident, as the warrant recall application that I submitted yesterday says. He’s a full-time student at the University of Michigan. … Active family involvement. He’s a good young man.”

Smith waived the formal reading of the charge and stood mute during the proceedings.

Prosecutor Gabrielle O’Connor recommended standard bond conditions: A personal recognizance bond, no weapons, and no further criminal activity.

Shea asked that Smith be allowed to leave the state with his team when required to do so for football. Washtenaw County Magistrate Elisha Fink granted that request, on the condition that he return to Michigan as soon as his team returns.

“What that means, Mr. Smith, is that if your team is traveling, you can go with them,” Fink said. “You can go anywhere that that team is going for any reason related to your participation on that team. But other than that, I’m not giving you permission to go outside of the state of Michigan. So you can’t take yourself someplace to watch some other team play. You can go if your team is going, but not by yourself. You can’t go to Cedar Point. You can’t go to Kentucky, OK?”

Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel said in a statement Thursday afternoon that Smith will “continue to participate as a member of the team.”

While Smith is out on bond, he can’t use alcohol, marijuana, or illegal drugs. No drug testing is required, but under the jurisdiction of the court, he can be drug tested at any time. Smith can’t buy or possess weapons or ammunition while out on bond.

A probable cause conference is scheduled for 9 a.m. Dec. 8 over Zoom.

Smith was named to the All-Big Ten First Team earlier this week after finishing the regular season with 43 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and four passes defended. He is one of the main reasons the Wolverines were excellent against the run all season.

You can watch the full arraignment below:

Here is a statement from Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh:

Here is a statement from Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel:


About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.